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NC bill would require schools to inform parents on lessons, limit teachings on sex and gender

It mostly lays out requirements to notify parents about information about their child, but it also includes limits on reproductive health and safety instruction.

RALEIGH, N.C. — State Republican lawmakers unveiled legislation they call a "Parents' Bill of Rights" Tuesday.

House Bill 755 would require schools to inform parents of lessons, changes at school and school resources.

It also proposes limits on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Much of the bill speaks more broadly about allowing parents to request information about lessons their child receives or health care a student might get at school.

Parents could request lessons, textbooks and other learning materials. Schools also need to tell parents about things like tutoring services and ways parents can be more involved with the school.

Schools would have to establish ways for parents to get that information and find out about those services.

"What it does, is it enumerates a lot of those things we already thought we had the right to as far as information and notifications," State Senator Michael Lee (R, District 9) said. "Hopefully, this will make it obvious for everyone now that it's in the bill and also more uniform overall."

There are also completely new rules. Some directly address sexual orientation and gender identity.

Instruction on those ideas would not be allowed for Kindergarten through third grade.

Schools would notify parents if their child requests a change to their name or pronoun.

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R, District 30) said the bill is not about silencing conversations about LGBTQ issues in school.

"There's no attempt to squelch folks from talking about things," Berger said. "There is a specific prohibition on it being a part of the curriculum in K through 3rd grade."

It has a couple of other items including a requirement to notify parents of any changes to a child's mental, physical or emotional health.

Senate Republicans said they expect the bill to pass the Senate before heading to the House.

Democratic Senator Michael Garrett (District 27) said he is concerned about the sections on gender identity.

"I think everybody thinks parents should be involved in their child's education, health and wellbeing. That's not controversial," Garrett said. "What I have seen online is kind of concerning that this is just Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill brought to North Carolina and if that's the case, then I imagine there will be significant opposition to it."

WFMY News 2's Grace Holland reached out to Governor Roy Cooper's Office about the proposal. Press Secretary Jordan Monaghan said the Governor will review the legislation.

The bill moves to the committee Wednesday. If it passes the Senate, House and the Governor's desk, these school requirements would go into effect next school year.

The North Carolina Association of Educators issued a statement about the proposed bill:

“While we continue to review this bill, we already know much of what's proposed is already codified in law, so this is nothing more than an attempt to solve a non-existent problem,” said NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly. “Instead of working to improve school conditions and build upon positive parent and teacher relationships, this bill is designed to cast schools as places of suspicion. It is an attempt to divide parents and teachers for political gain and distract from the real issues, years of passing state budgets that fall short of adequately funding public schools.  

“Our students need all adults (teachers & parents) working together to help them achieve their dreams. Parents and students have the right to fully funded, fully resourced, and fully staffed public schools that the North Carolina Constitution has granted. In addition, they have the right to inclusive learning and teaching classrooms that reflect who they are and the diversity of this great state.” 

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